Liam Payne on Friday released his much-anticipated debut album ‘LP1’.
“My debut album is out now! So excited to share this with all of you!” Payne tweeted. The 26-year-old’s solo effort makes him the third (fourth, if you count Zayn Malik) member of the once world-dominating boy band One Direction to do so. Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Malik have all had solo debuts with great success, while Louis Tomlinson’s album ‘Walls’ is expected to release in January.
Anyway, back to ‘LP1’.
The 17-song project features many singles he has released since 2017, including ‘Strip That Down’ featuring Quavo, ‘Stack It Up’ featuring A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and ‘For You’ with Rita Ora, which appeared on the ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ movie soundtrack.
One of the brand new songs called ‘Both Ways’ received backlash within hours of its release, with many condemning it for “fetishising bisexuality”. The hashtag #LiamPayneIsOver even trended on Twitter. We’ll leave that rabbit hole for you to discover at your leisure.
Payne tweeted a few hours later: “Blown away by this reaction already! Thanks to everyone that’s picked up the album so far, your support doesn’t go unnoticed #LP1.”
But early reviews have not actually been kind.
Writing for the AP, Mark Kennedy called the album “a collection of monotonous club songs that often sound like warmed-over Justin Beiber rejects”.
The Guardian’s Laura Snapes was even harsher: “Its generic trap and Latin-tinged production and its many guest rappers suggest Payne is trying to keep pace with Drake and the Weeknd,” she writes. “He can’t, because his rank randiness lacks the sense of guilty pleasure that makes his Canadian contemporaries irresistible.”
“LP1 is a terrible pop album, but very effective contraception,” she adds.
Helen Brown in The Independent was a little kinder. “He’s got a nice set of pipes. He gets the songs across. But without imposing any personality on them he’s just, well, a singing six-pack,” she writes, eventually observing that Payne “has millions of fans who will buy this anyway. But they should be aware he’s gone from One Direction to One Dimensional.”
AD Amorosi offers Payne some advise in Variety: “First off, the writing and singing aren’t strong enough and come across as C-level Timberlake material. Two, without being surrounded by 1D, he shouldn’t sing high, flightily and airily, but rather stick to slow, low groovers. Three, Payne should find one or two styles that work best for him — and not put a host of other singers before him, male or female — and stick to them.”
NME’s El Hunt brings it all into perspective, concluding thus: “On the whole, this is a mixed bag. ‘LP1’ shows a more grown-up side to the former One Direction member, and cherry-picks from pretty much every genre that’s in vogue right now. The problem is that it doesn’t tell us much about Liam Payne.”